Devon County Council (14 019 069)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway repair and maintenance

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 27 Mar 2015

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr Y complains about the Council’s decision it will only clean the gully outside his home annually. The Ombudsman cannot question the merits of this as there is insufficient evidence of fault in the way the Council decided this.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I shall refer to as Mr Y, complains about the Council’s decision to only clean a gully outside his house annually.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman investigates complaints of injustice caused by maladministration and service failure. I have used the word fault to refer to these. The Ombudsman cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. She must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered what Mr Y said in his complaint and the Council’s complaint responses which it sent to me.

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What I found

  1. Mr Y explains water gathers in the road next to his house and this splashes against his house when passing cars drive through it. Mr Y says historically the Council has cleaned out the road gully at this location at his request. Mr Y is unhappy that the Council will only now do it annually.
  2. The Council has inspected the gully and its assessment is it only needs cleaning annually or when there is a build up of water at a level that warrants intervention under its policy. The Council acknowledges it has responded to Mr Y’s specific requests for cleaning in the past but it can no longer do so due to limited resources.

Analysis

  1. There is insufficient evidence of fault in the way the Council reached the decision Mr Y complains about. It has inspected the gully and made a decision in accordance with its policy. The Ombudsman cannot therefore question the merits of the Council’s decision.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot question the merits of the Council’s decision about gully cleaning as there is insufficient evidence of fault in the way the Council decided this.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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